Snow on the Way

By Alexis George

After a December to remember (or forget, depending on your preferred weather), in which much of the Northeast experienced warm temperatures and a snowfall deficit, it finally looks like snow is on the way!

A strong El Nino pattern has had a major impact on weather conditions across the Northeast and will continue to affect weather conditions going forward this winter. El Nino causes the Pacific jet to move south and then spread farther east of its neutral position.

This can lead to a slow start to the winter, with the Northeast possibly experiencing warmer and wetter-than-average conditions. Check.

Then, January and February may turn out to be colder and snowier, with the potential for bigger storms to affect New England. A typical mid-late El Nino winter may feature the Pacific jet stream driving some storms from the western United States southward towards the Gulf of Mexico. Then, what happens from there? Some of these storms may likely miss New England and track farther to our south. However, a handful of these storms could possibly track more north and move up along the east coast, bringing impactful weather conditions and significant precipitation to New England. Lo and behold, models are predicting the possibility of some big storms in the coming weeks. This weekend looks to be our first chance at a legit nor’easter, with another significant storm possible the following week.

A storm system that has already passed through the west coast of the United States is currently diving southeastward of the Rockies at the time of this writing. This system will receive energy and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico late Friday night, allowing it to gain strength as it moves over the southeastern states on Saturday. This system will likely dump some heavy rain from Florida through the Carolinas on Saturday. Where this storm tracks after that will determine how it impacts New England later this weekend. Most models favor this system tracking northward, with an area of low pressure developing and moving up along the east coast toward southern New England. If that is how this storm track plays out, then a snow event will be in store for New England.

So, how much snow is in store for this weekend? Since it doesn’t look like there will be much mixing from this storm, most of the region will likely see mainly snow from Saturday night through Sunday. The highest snowfall accumulation looks to occur farther to our south, with a winter storm warning already issued ahead of this approaching storm for parts of southern New England. As of right now, it looks like Mount Washington could see 5-8 inches of snow from Saturday night through Sunday.

As typical with a possible nor’easter, this system could also bring strong and damaging winds for parts of central and southern New England this weekend. Everything considered, this storm will likely make travel difficult and may lead to power outages and tree damages this weekend.

Looking ahead, models are also indicating that another strong storm could sweep through New England around the middle of next week. While this storm is still a ways out, models are currently leaning towards this storm tracking farther west than the weekend storm, which could bring a messy mix of rain, ice, and snow to New England.

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